Tempe Arrangements

I am in Tempe, Arizona, tonight, for the Nebula Awards weekend, after having been earlier this week at a professional conference in Salt Lake City (a coincident sequence of events that my partner at home is very unhappy about…)

Salt Lake City is a clean, uncrowded, rather Stepfordesque city that features a fabulous convention center that could easily host a Worldcon, if only some local group could/would support a bid, and a fabulous used/rare books dealer (just a couple blocks away, from the convention center and my hotel), Sam Weller’s, where I managed to spend a couple hours browsing the stacks, and picked up a select few first edition paperbacks by Pohl and Tenn and Delany that I didn’t already have. (Their stock is more generous than I’d remembered — with newly released books mixed among the used backlog — but I am fastidious enough to be willing to buy only very tight, clean copies of used books, price less important than condition. Which I found by Pohl and Tenn and Delany, and Harness and Asimov and couple others.)

I flew home on the company dime on Thursday, then drove myself to Tempe earlier today, Friday, much as I did a year and half ago when the World Fantasy Con was staged at this very hotel, the Tempe Mission Palms. As at that con, there was a mass autograph party this evening — and I brought books to sign — by Kelly, Margo, Eileen, and Connie, none of whom I’d ever obtained signatures from before (not even Connie!) — after which I hooked up with a dinner group including Liza Groen from Locus, Paolo Bacigalupi, and Gavin Grant & Kelly Link. (Liza clued me in on a breaking deal with a certain popular SF writer who’s doing a new column for Locus magazine/online — more about that anon.)

After dinner, back at the hotel, there was a “Nebula nominee and honoree reception” (sponsored by Dark Horse Comics and Tor Books) that included the awarding of pins to all the Nebula nominees, and then evolved into a roast of sorts of incipient Grand Master Harlan Ellison by the weekend’s toastmaster Connie Willis, with members of the audience spontaneously arising to tell variously complimentary or derisive anecdotes about the man — including Joe Haldeman, Jane Jewell, Ginjer Buchanan, Daryl Mallet, and Peter David — an amazing show, one that matches the Silverberg/Ellison co-roast I witnessed many years ago at a Westercon in LA. There were several people video-taping and snapping pix, so you can expect to see more about this on the web soon.

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